Made in China/Italy

14 Nov , 2009  

Are the ties made in China better or worse than those ties made in Italy?

I was waiting in the queue at the Chinese Embassy in The Hague, to organize my mother’s visa. My mother; Florentine, is going to visit my sister who lives in Shanghai. I have been there twice and think it’s a great city. It’s always busy, it’s hectic, it smells strange but in a good way.. My sister is fascinated by the Chinese culture and speaks nearly fluent Chinese.


So while I was waiting in the queue I started to have a chat with a Dutch speaking Chinese gentleman. He was born in the Netherlands but moved to Hangzhou, China (two-hour drive from Shanghai) at the age of 25, about ten years ago. He first worked as a translator, then a business consultant which made him enough capital to buy a few real estate properties. He currently co-owns a plantation where he harvests tulips! The typical Dutch flower ‘made in China’ for the domestic market! How great! Business was booming and China’s development and impact on global business is more evident than ever.


He told me that in his city a lot of silk was exported to Italian luxury companies that produce ties, shawls and suits from the Chinese silk. Silk comes from a silkworm that feeds on mulberry trees. This is no news really.. China was the first silk producing country in the world since the mulberry trees were first only sited there. China still masters the skills necessary to produce high quality silk. But some countries like India and Italy have come a long way to copy-paste from the Chinese skilled silk workers. The first few batches of silk produced by the silkworm is the best and is bought by the high-end brands and the rest of the thread goes to the crappy ones. If 20% of the product is made in Italy, the company may use the ‘made in Italy’ tag on the item. About forty years ago, the first batch of Chinese in the suiting industry in China realized that they had to migrate to Italy to produce there. If the products contained a ‘made in Italy’ label then they could charge much more money for the products. For this reason, there are many Chinese working in the Italian suiting/fashion industry. Also for the high-end luxury brands.


So next time you buy a ‘Fate a mano’ Italian made tie with same fabric tipping; hand stitches on the back and displaying a sun stitch to keep the outer layers fixed: do you smell the Italian landscape or the forest in Hangzhou? HAHA! Either way, love your Italian/Chinese ties!

In my opinion, with the right coaching, a Chinese produced suit or tie could be just as good as Italian suits and ties . What do you guys think? Does the ‘made in Italy’ or ‘made in China’ label affect your choice of tie?

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